Keith Mitchell unfazed, shoots 66 playing with PGA commissioner at Pebble

Jan 13, 2019; Honolulu, HI, USA; PGA golfer Keith Mitchell tees off on the 17th hole during the final round of the Sony Open in Hawaii golf tournament at Waialae Country Club. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY Sports

Keith Mitchell unfazed, shoots 66 playing with PGA commissioner at Pebble

PGA Tour

Keith Mitchell unfazed, shoots 66 playing with PGA commissioner at Pebble

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PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Keith Mitchell has some extra pressure on his shoulders this week in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

His partner is PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan.

But it didn’t seem to faze Mitchell, who was on his best behavior and in solid form as he confidently marched down the fairways with Monahan and rushed up the leaderboard. With a 5-under-par 66 in crisp, mild conditions on the Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula Country Club, he stood two shots out of the lead.

“We told a few stories, for sure, some of which were funny,” Mitchell said of his interactions with Monahan. “He told me some good stories, so it was fun.”

So, too, was the golf. Mitchell, 27, is playing his second season on the PGA Tour. He’s ranked 153rd in the world and contended earlier this year in the Sony Open in Hawaii before a final-round 72 dropped him into a tie for 16th.

“It’s a lot of emotions out here,” Mitchell said. “I want to play well so bad sometimes and that’s honestly adverse because your emotions get in the way instead of helping you. So just learning through those (moments) is big.

“And this week with the (amateurs), it really helps you stay relaxed a little bit more, you have some different conversations down the fairway than usual with another player, another caddie. So that’s always fun and you’ve got to embrace it.”

Mitchell and Monahan are tied for fourth at 9 under in the amateur  competition. Leaders Scott Langley and Dan Rose are at 11 under.

While Mitchell felt free and relaxed throughout the round, Monahan was on the uptight side, especially when the round began at 8 a.m. local time. While he’s played in numerous pro-ams before, those came before the professional tournament began. In the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, he was under the gun from the get-go.

“I’m certainly far more nervous out here trying to make a 10-foot putt than anything else I do professionally,” said Monahan, whose father, Joe, is on the bag. “My hands were heavier than they have ever been before. And I stood up over a few putts at the beginning of the round and I’m like, OK, this is a totally different feeling than anything I’ve ever had before or certainly had in a long time.

Monahan became more comfortable with each passing hole. Playing with Mitchell and Hoffman certainly helped.

“I looked at Charley and Keith closely during the course of the round and they were as comfortable as you could ever be,” Monahan said. “So, to me that’s the most impressive thing. The shot making, you see it from all the guys out here, but just the peace that they play with is pretty amazing.”

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